Golden Globe winners Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio present Martin Scorsese with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills for his “outstanding contribution to the entertainment field.”
  • Cecil B. DeMille

Ready for My deMille: Profiles in Excellence – Martin Scorsese, 2010

"Arial",sans-serif;color:#550016″>  was presented to its namesake visionary director, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has awarded its most prestigious prize 66 times. From Walt Disney to Bette DavisElizabeth Taylor to Steven Spielberg and 62 others, the deMille has gone to luminaries – actors, directors, producers – who have left an indelible mark on Hollywood. Sometimes mistaken with a career achievement award, per HFPA statute, the deMille is more precisely bestowed for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment”. In this series, HFPA cognoscente and former president Philip Berk profiles deMille laureates through the years.

Martin Scorsese made Raging Bullmso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#222222;mso-bidi-font-style:
Taxi Driver
 which had already won him universal acclaim. A native of the Bronx, Scorsese had grown up a sickly child in New York’s Little Italy, deeply religious, fully intending to become a priest. But after being discouraged by church officials he pursued his other passion: movies. He earned a BA in English and then enrolled in New York’s Tisch School of the Arts earning a master’s degree in film. While there he made a number of short films and completed his first feature Who’s That Knocking at My Door with fellow students Harvey Keitel and Thelma Schoonmaker, his trusted film editor. As a result, he became friendly with Brian De Palma (who introduced him to Robert De Niro) and other up and coming directors who were instrumental in getting Roger Corman to give him a chance to direct his first Hollywood feature, Boxcar Bertha. It inspired Mean Streets, which was championed by influential critic Pauline Kael and became the film everyone had to see.

Ellen Burstyn who chose him to direct his least characteristic film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, which earned Burstyn her Oscar and was lauded by Sight and Sound as the best American film of the year, later winning the BAFTA award as Best Film.

The Sting) signed him to make Taxi Driver. Entered at the Cannes Film Festival that film won the Palme d’Or and soon became the most controversial film of the year (in part because13-year-old Jodie Foster played a child prostitute) eventually receiving four Oscar nominations including one for Best Picture. De Niro was nominated for both the Oscar and the Golden Globe. And so was legendary Bernard Herrmann. It was to be the last film he ever scored. 

New York, New Yorka lavish attempt to recreate an MGM musical, and even though it had De Niro and Liza Minnelli as ill-fated lovers and a score by Fred Ebb and John Kander, it was an outright failure. The film has lately been rediscovered and thanks to its title song (which Frank Sinatra later immortalized) is now considered a masterpiece.

Robert Redford’s Ordinary People. De Niro however won every Best Actor award without exception and quickly became the premier actor working in film, displacing both Marlon Brando and James Dean.

After Hours, for which Griffin Dunne was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a comedy.

Paul Newman though his only Oscar performance in The Color of Moneymade for Disney essentially as a Tom Cruise vehicle. He then realized his life-long ambition to bring Nicos Kazantzakis’ novel The Last Temptation of Christ to the screen. The film courted controversy from the outset and ended up a commercial failure, although Martin was nominated for a Best Director Oscar, and Barbara Hershey and Peter Gabriel received Gold Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress and Best Score, respectively.

Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola make New York Stories, a portmanteau of three disparate short films, released as a feature but soon forgotten. The next year he teamed up with his trusted producers Chartoff and Winkler reuniting De Niro and Joe Pesci on Goodfellas, resulting in another Scorsese masterpiece, again universally loved by critics, but ignored by both the Golden Globes and the Academy. Their choice: Dances with Wolves. And Best Director? Kevin Costner. But not a word of disappointment from Scorsese.

Steven Spielberg on a remake of Cape Fearbest remembered for De Niro’s villainous turn in the Robert Mitchum role, for which again he was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe. It became Marty’s first big commercial success grossing ever $180 million for Universal.

The Age of Innocence, working again with former Time magazine critic Jay Cocks, who had first joined forces with him on Mean Streets. Their partnership ended a few years later with Gangs of New YorkAlthough The Age of Innocence was an expensive failure as with so many of his films, over the years it has grown in stature.

Casino, fared well with both critics and the public and earned Sharon Stone her only Golden Globe as Best Actress even though the film belonged to De Niro. Another personal project Kundun followed his second discourse on religion. He was yet to make the best of the trio, Silence, although none of them found favor with audiences he had quite a few adherents. Scorsese defended all three vehemently, and bravely stood up to the Chinese government when they tried to suppress ideas expressed in the movie about the Dalai Lama.

color:#222222″> was a lark he made for and with Nicolas Cage and his then-wife Patricia Arquette. He entered into a partnership with Harvey Weinstein for a couple of projects which brought both of them plenty of accolades. The first Gangs of New York was an epic social drama pitting Catholics against Protestants and immigrants against African Americans. It was made palatable by virtue of the star power provided by Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio. Harvey and Marty clashed over the final cut; the film was ultimately released in a truncated version much shorter than its original 167-minute length. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards winning none, but it established Daniel Day-Lewis as the greatest actor of his generation. He would go on to win Oscars and Golden Globes for his next two films. Meanwhile, Marty picked up his first Golden Globe as Best Director.

The Aviator, the definitive Howard Hughes bio, and his second of many collaborations with DiCaprio. The film won four Oscars and three Golden Globes including ones for Best Picture and Best Actor, Leo as Howard Hughes. Cate Blanchett won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for playing Katharine Hepburn. The film was a big box office hit, grossing over $200 million worldwide. As for his collaboration with DiCaprio, which has extended through six projects, Scorsese told the HFPA: “I think Leonardo’s a wonderful actor; he’s got an extraordinary range. He spent more than a year and a half in preparation, and he was so thorough. It was quite a challenge because the film was not shot in continuity because of the schedules of actors and locations. Sometimes he’d be Howard Hughes in 1926; then three days later Howard Hughes in 1940; and he was always there, always on top of it, and deadly serious about his work. It’s like a gift when you have that rapport with an actor.” He followed that film with an even bigger box-office winner, The Departed, which grossed over $300 million and earned Marty his first Best Director Oscar. It was also the first Scorsese film to win the Oscar as Best Picture. Again, Di Caprio was his muse but this time he had to compete with Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson for the acting honors. Ironically it was Mark Wahlberg who stole the picture earning the only acting Oscar nomination.

Hugo was visually stunning with imaginative use of 3D. You needed to be a film buff to fully get it. It crashed at the box office merely covering its $150 million-dollar cost yet ended up winning the Golden Globe as Best Picture.

The Wolf of Wall StreetWolf, he next made the stark, spiritual Silence which hardly recovered its meager budget, despite a vigorous promotion. He came roaring back last year with The Irishman which reunited the old gang from Goodfellas. The four-hour epic cost a fortune that only Netflix could afford.

The Red Shoes – they were later married – has edited every one of Marty’s movies and has won five Oscars in the process.

Bong Joon Ho, whose Parasite he championed, he has over the years nurtured many new directors, most notably Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me) and the Safdie Brothers (Uncut Gems). A truly encyclopedic cinephile, he is deeply passionate about film restoration and was instrumental in forming The Film Foundation.